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   Chapter 14 Skyside

Skyside: Book Five of The Channel Riders By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 13929

Updated: 2018-02-26 16:25


Chapter 14

As the others filed out to begin working on their assigned tasks, Elena settled in with the multitude of pages from the suggestion box. Benjamin brought her a sandwich and she ate it absently as she took notes. Some of the suggestions were practical, like the request to get additional communal bathing facilities up and running. Some were petty.

Elena shook her head at the request from the aide to Councilor Alex Barton. "Something wrong?" Benjamin asked.

"Apparently the tile work in Councilor Barton's private bathing chamber is not up his aide's standards and must be appropriately redone before the councilor arrives. In addition, the hot water is not quite hot enough to pass muster."

"I see, " Benjamin said with a smile. "Well at least it would give some of the workers something to do. I'm sure they could get him an estimate."

Elena smiled. "Yes, that would be something a private contractor would handle." Elena started a pile to send to Eric who she knew would be happy to negotiate with the irritating aide. She very much liked the thought of not being at the beck and call for every little tweak as the aides feathered their new nests for the anticipated arrival of the Councilors. Making sure everyone had a roof over their heads was something she could take responsibility for; she felt no compunction to deal with anything under those roofs.

"They can handle their own decorating, " she decided.

The sheer amount of things necessary to ensure that a town ran smoothly staggered her. Elena kept reminding herself of the old adage that an elephant was eaten a bite at a time. 'I should get that embroidered on a throw pillow, ' she thought as she worked. Elena took each of the large tasks needing attention and slowly broke them into smaller, more manageable pieces, doling them out to various sectors and reminding herself to check in on those she delegated to supervise.

Where the concern was for the community at large, Elena designated work crews to handle the problems. Luckily Mateo assigned a team of runners to her and she was able to send them for information as she needed it. When one returned to let her know that there were three additional bath houses that had never been made operational, she was able to send a request for teams to be sent to each. As the latrines were insufficient for the number of people now occupying the town, she sent a request to Kiera for a location appropriate for a new set of latrines and then sent another crew to work. She knew that Eric would keep track of his crews' hours and would make certain that the Council repaid them for their efforts.

By the time the day started to wear thin, Elena felt wrung out. She prioritized and plotted, itemized and listed and her vision was beginning to blur. She sighed and pushed away from the table, leaving the papers where they were and hoping a stiff breeze didn't disturb her work.

"Evalene sent something over for you to wear to the memorial, " Benjamin told her. Elena nodded and looked around. She registered Benjamin moving around her throughout the day but paid little attention to what he was actually doing. She blinked in surprise, taking in his efforts.

Items were unpacked from storage and artwork was added to the walls. Curtains framed the windows and all of the packing crates were removed. The quarters looked warm and inviting and like they had been occupied for far longer than a single day.

"That's amazing Benjamin, thank you, " Elena told him. "It looks like home."

"Well, that was the point, " he replied with a grin. "Besides I figured it would take you forever to actually get around to it. By then the chaos would have driven me crazy. Now I need to get dressed as well." Elena nodded and both she and Benjamin retired to their respective rooms to change for the memorial. The dress Evalene provided was a simple black dress with a rounded neckline and a skirt that fell loosely to her ankles. Elena dressed and met Benjamin in the living room. He was now wearing a black suit and a serious expression.

As they stepped out of the front door, Elena heard a ringing, as though someone

some people who are finding that difficult to deal with."

"I know, " Mateo said with a dark laugh. "We really don't play well with outsiders do we?" He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "Kiera and I were talking about it last night. There have been a couple of blow ups."

"What…" Elena began.

Mateo cut her off. "They were minor and we handled it. Even though my mother will probably kill me, Evalene finished Kiera's wedding dress and Evan finished the wording linking her people to my House. We can go through with the wedding."

"I think Aunt Catherine will end up killing us both, but I think we may have to. Unfortunately it needs to be a big event." Elena told him.

"We could just do a simple ceremony to get it over with and then do the big wedding later, " Mateo said. Elena shook her head.

"That won't work, " She told him. "We need something big and showy. You are not only Alexandro's heir, but you are bringing a large group of people into the Guild. We need big and showy." Mateo frowned. "It's the same reason I had to move out of the small magic gumdrop house." She reminded him.

"Yeah, " Mateo finally conceded. "What do you suggest?"

"I suggest we call Rene, " Elena told him. "He can work with you and Kiera to make it yours as well as a political show of alliance. In addition, he is one of the biggest gossips I know, which in this case is a big help. Spreading word far and wide that those not currently Guild are soon to take a publicly formal oath of alliance as they join the Guild may help cut down on some of the problems."

"I'll talk to Kiera, but I think we can live with that." Mateo told her.

"I can talk to Rene and hopefully impress upon him the severity of the issue, " Elena told him.

"Great, " he said. "I'll go grab Kiera and have a chat, you talk to Rene and send him our way once you are done." Mateo stood and shook his head. "But you are explaining to my mother why we had to rush the wedding."

"Deal, " Elena said, feeling somewhat relieved, even if she had to explain the politics to her angry relations. She knew their grandfather was likely to be even more upset than Mateo's mother.

"I'd explain quickly, " Thompson added with a smile as Mateo got ready to leave. "Otherwise she is likely to think the wedding was rushed because she is soon to be a grandmother and that could cause a whole other load of problems."

"I'm sending her to you as soon as she docks, " Mateo told Elena with a slightly panicked look on his face. Elena smiled.

"Understood, " Elena replied. "Every peace comes with a price. As long as we keep Lucas and Melanie from getting married before she returns. We may be okay with one wedding. God knows we would never survive sneaking two behind her back."

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